With the sad news of Karen’s mum’s critical medical condition, plans for the foreseeable future in casa Strachan are understandably in limbo. My wife still in the north east maintaining her bedside vigil, along with providing support for her distraught father.

I’m in regular contact with my little missus by phone and text, where she speaks of the current situation being emotionally and physically draining. Her good ‘buddy’ karma magnanimously seeing fit to add to the already extensive pile of detritus she has to contend with.

The only useful input I can give Karen are supportive words gained from my experiences during the passing of my father in October 2017. It’s a dreadful situation to endure – One which I’d love to be able to somehow ease for my spouse. 

After eight years of being part of her incurable cancer journey, I’m used to this frustrating helplessness – Powerlessness which feels like you’re letting your partner down at a time they need it most. That isn’t the case of course, I’ve undertaken many hundreds of hours supporting my betrothed.

Somehow, though, being unable to rid her of this nemesis makes any action I undertake seem futile. I’m sensible enough to know I’ve contributed lots to help her during this time. However, with her illness being immovable, at times it doesn’t feel that way.

Anyhow, the Strachan soap opera continues apace. It’s unfailing capacity to script a mix of misery and humour so reliable it’s a surprise we don’t arrive at morning breakfast accompanied by a theme tune.

As I write this part of the narrative, I’ve just finished a phone call from my mum Maggie, asking for an update on Karen’s mum. During the conversation, I commented she was a nosey get. A tongue in cheek quip causing mater to imply she’d no option but to ring for updates, a consequence of my recent secretive behaviour.

Surprised at the accusation, I highlighting to my mother all updates are available via the world wide web on my site writesaidfred.org . A fact rendering her allegation about my furtiveness and lack of transparency as untrue.

“Yes, but you know I don’t read the c**p you post on your website!” my mum responded with heartwarming generosity of spirit.

She went on to further dismiss my argument I wasn’t being secretive, pointing out over the weekend I’d cut out two eye holes in her newspaper. An action she claimed “Which could only be for motives clandestine.” 

An allegation I countered with “Mum, I cut the eyes out of that rag for posterity. Those two circular pieces of paper containing rare pieces of decent journalism are a collectors item!”

As our telephone interaction drew to a conclusion I promised my mum I’d return the eye holes on my next visit. Additionally, I vowed to arrange for any further updates on Karen’s mums condition to be read out by Harry Gration on BBC’s Look North.

“That’d be great, Gary!” she responded chirpily. “I love Harry Gration….. He’s a smashing lad with some lovely ties…… He also doesn’t swan around with a scruff arse beard like you!!”

The conversation ended with my mum jovially (but very randomly) singing Rod Stewart’s ‘I Am Sailing”, and me jotting down ‘Find Harry Gration’s agents contact details’ on my to do list.

As the late, great, sometime irate Fred Trueman once eloquently proffered “We’ll sithee.”